In a critical assessment published by Politico, Republican strategists Curt Anderson and Alex Castellanos have delivered a harsh critique of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign, labeling it as the "worst in history." This stinging rebuke comes amidst the backdrop of the highly competitive and scrutinized race for the Republican nomination.
The duo, with years of experience in Republican politics, expressed disbelief at how DeSantis, despite amassing substantial financial resources, trailed significantly behind former President Donald Trump in the Iowa caucus, falling short by a staggering 30 percentage points.
This gap, they argue, highlights a fundamental miscalculation in DeSantis' campaign strategy.
Imitation Strategy Fails
A key point of their criticism focuses on DeSantis' apparent attempt to mirror Trump's unique style and political persona.
Anderson and Castellanos argue that such an approach is doomed to fail, as Trump's singular ability to engage and energize crowds is inimitable. They caution against any attempts to replicate Trump's charisma, suggesting that voters are quick to reject what they perceive as inauthentic copies of the former president.
Their critique intensifies as they discuss the campaign's messaging, which they describe as ineffective and uninspiring to the Republican base. The message that DeSantis is akin to Trump, but lacks his charisma and appeal, did not resonate with voters, according to the strategists.
Roe's Controversial Influence
Another significant error, as pointed out by Anderson and Castellanos, was the DeSantis campaign's association with strategist Jeff Roe. They highlight Roe's less-than-stellar track record, underscoring his involvement in multiple unsuccessful Senate races.
This includes candidates such as Adam Laxalt in Nevada, Carla Sands and Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania, Jim Lamon in Arizona, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and Martha McSally in Arizona (twice). Roe's reputation as a 'celebrity consultant' who profits despite losses adds to the campaign's perceived missteps.
This comprehensive critique from seasoned GOP operatives paints a picture of a campaign fraught with strategic errors and miscalculations. It underscores the challenges facing DeSantis as he vies for the Republican nomination, competing against the towering figure of Donald Trump and the expectations of the Republican electorate.